A Critical Look at Diamond Sizes on Hands And Prices

Without a doubt, carat weight and size are the first things that come to mind when you hear people talk about diamonds. What most people fail to understand is that carat weight isn’t an accurate portrayal of the diamond’s size. Just because a diamond is heavier (higher carat weight) does not necessarily mean that it will look bigger.

This is because the physical dimensions of the diamond are affected by how it is proportioned. For example, a shallow stone (depth ~ 60%) will appear larger than another stone that is cut deeply (higher depth ~ 63%). Also, having a thick girdle thickness can also result in a smaller face-up view since weight is hidden in the body of the diamond.

Take note that carat weight and cut should be considered hand-in-hand as mentioned in the previous article. As a rule of the thumb, a diamond should not look too big or too small for its carat weight. Otherwise, it is a telltale sign of a poor cut and the brilliance of the stone will suffer.

a beautiful engagement ring fit

Just the right diamond size for the hands…


What Can You Do With a Limited Budget?

When buying diamonds, you will be forced to play a zero-sum game with the 4Cs – Cut, Carat, Color and Clarity. With a fixed budget, there’s no way you can improve one attribute without sacrificing another aspect of the diamond. Now, I know that the priority for most people is the get the largest looking diamond possible. My recommendation is that you should never sacrifice cut for size.

Here are some methods to help you get a bigger diamond without compromising cut. Instead of selecting a diamond with high clarity grades, going lower to clarity ratings like SI1-SI2 can enable you to buy a bigger diamond. Likewise, when it comes to choosing color, a less expensive G colored diamond can look almost identical to a D colored diamond in the face up view.

Besides the 4Cs, there are optical illusions that can enhance the look of a diamond by making use of the setting. For example, the size of the main diamond will appear bigger in a delicate ring setting with thin shanks. Likewise, the use of a halo to surround the center stone can create a grandiose appearance in the ring.

surrounding diamond with melees

When viewing this ring design at a distance of 2ft, you’ll get the perspective of a huge solitaire diamond…

If you are looking for beautiful halo ring setting that will boost the appearance of a diamond’s size, I highly recommend that you check out James Allen and White Flash.

Does a Bigger Diamond Always Look Better on Your Finger?

There’s a saying from the ladies that a bigger diamond is a better diamond. Well, I disagree because I don’t think everyone would look great wearing an excessively large diamond on their hand.

Vice versa, a small diamond would look disproportionate if the recipient has thick fingers. When choosing a suitable carat size, it would definitely help if are able to visualize how the ring would look like on your recipient’s finger.

excessively large diamond vs suitable carat size for finger

Does bigger (left) always mean it’s better? Personally, I don’t think so due to size overkill.

Buying ‘Light Carat Weight’ for Maximum Bang For Buck

For people on a budget, a good tactic to get the biggest bang for your buck is to buy shy. Prices jump at every tenth decimal mark 0.40, 0.50, 0.60, 0.70 and etc. and more significantly at the quarter marks like 0.50, 0.75, 1.00 and etc.

The idea of “buying shy” is to buy close to these carat weights in order to stay within the lower price bracket. Ultimately, you will still end up with a diamond that looks physically the same while avoiding the extra premium.

Here’s an illustration on what I mean.

carat sizes and prices

A price comparison of round brilliants performed at JamesAllen.com. Feel free to visit them and perform your own comparisons using different diamond specifications.

Buying slightly below the ‘magic’ numbers can result in some substantial savings.

If you take a look at the examples above, the diamonds have similar cut, clarity and color grades (and no fluorescence). Yet, each stone differ greatly in their value. Obviously, you can notice that there is a stark difference in pricing when a diamond hits to the magical 1 carat weight.

In real life, a well cut 0.90 carat stone measures up at around 6.20mm by 6.20mm and a well cut 1.00 carat diamond measures up at around 6.50mm by 6.50mm. At a small difference of only 0.30mm, this difference is hardly distinguishable without a side by side comparison. This means that you get a diamond that faces up similarly to a full carat stone and avoid paying the extra 30% increase in prices.

Coming up on the next page, we show you why clarity is an attribute that is often misunderstood by consumers and how to avoid some common pitfalls…

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  1. Avatar
    Jim Sanders-
    February 11, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    This site is a treasure trove of information! I think everyone who’s buying a ring would have a much easier time if they would even just read through the first few pages. Thanks for the very detailed information!


  2. Avatar
    Antoine Eleveld-
    June 13, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Do you have any tools I can use for diamond size comparison between different shapes? If you can provide illustrations of the actual diamond size on hand of different finger thickness, I would really appreciate it.

  3. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    June 14, 2016 at 8:07 am

    I’ve actually compiled a downloadable pdf file on diamond measurements in correlation to their carat weights here: https://beyond4cs.com/carat/size-chart/

  4. Avatar
    Wendy Kelly-
    March 1, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Can you recommend 5 top diamond jewellers in manhattan please

  5. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    March 2, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/best-places-to-buy-diamonds/

    A couple of these vendors have headquarters based in New York.

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